How do I get a WETT Certificate or get my system WETT Certified?

There is no such thing as a WETT certificate.

Nor can any appliance be WETT certified.

The inspector is the one who is WETT Certified!

What is provided is an inspection by a WETT Certified individual.  This individual will provide a CODE COMPLANCE inspection and provide a report.

Keep in mind to do the inspection properly the internals of the wood stove must be inspected as well.. missing refractory bricks make the stove uncertified.. and impact inspection results.

You should ALWAY get a WETT certified individual to inspect every system when installed, when purchased or on a regular basis with cleaning.

( Certified Chimney Sweeps will provide as part of the cleaning )

If I get a WETT Inspection – How long is it good for?

The nature of any inspection report, including one done by a Building Inspector, is such that it only is able to view, speak to and record what was present and seen at the time of the inspection.

Once the inspection is complete the inspector has no control or knowledge of any future changes, use or maintenance of wood burning system.

Consequently, an inspection report can only warrant what was seen and recorded at the time of the inspection and typically all inspectors will/should have that noted somewhere in their reports.

Some think it should be good for years to come, but realistically things change.  Parts wear, rust and deteriorate over time.  Use of systems, what is burned and how hot it is burned impacts system integrity as well.  Lack of maintenance, cleaning and factors such as chimney fires (of which 80% happen without knowledge of homeowner) all impact integrity as well.  Any changes or replacements of components can impact conditions as well.  Areas like stove pipes, refractory bricks and door gaskets are three typical wear areas which may be neglected; cleaning of system is yet another.

Because of this really the report and inspection is only VALID for the TIME OF INSPECTION and most will notate that on reports/if they don’t they should!

What is a Catalyst Combuster – And how does it work?

Some stoves have catalyst combusters as part of their secondary burn process.  The reason was or is that while many wood stoves today have secondary burn areas, many times the secondary burn areas do not ignite due to people not understanding and using the stoves properly.

The catalyst combuster was designed to provide a more fool-proof method for burning excess flue gases, provide additional heat and put less particles or emissions out chimney.

So just how does a catalyst work?

Well first the catalyst is not a filter, instead of capturing any particles the combuster uses a chemical catalyst to break unburned particles apart and lower combustion temperatures.  Typical either platinum and/or palladium is utilized to trigger the chemical reaction much the same as your catalytic converter in automobile.   The catalyst will convert the flue gases smoke into water vapor, carbon dioxide, and MORE heat!!

While the catalysis process is used in automobiles as mentioned, the woodstove is able to capture and use the heat generated in the process benefiting the users!   The emissions out of chimney are essentially  invisible carbon dioxide and white water vapor. Chimney emissions from a catalyst that is not function properly will be darker or sootier in appearance.

To work properly the catalyst must reach specific temperatures which is why in proper operation you divert flue gases around combustor during the warm up period.

Operating temperature of the combustors is typically around 500° Fahrenheit or 260° Celsius.

When operating the temperature of the catalyst may reach as high as 1300° Fahrenheit  or 700° Celsius.   These are maximum temperatures and operation above that may cause harm to the combustor or stove components.
If you have a combustor, are interesting in learning more or need maintenance on one contact.

What are the most common Home Inspection misses?

Well the title is a bit misleading.. lets focus on wood burning items first.

a) the number one item by far is missing fasteners in woodstove pipe connections.  Easy to see!  If they are missing those what else in home is being overlooked?  Perhaps simply lack of knowledge – but where else is that knowledge lacking?

b) the second item is missing firebricks or refractory bricks.  If the stove is missing bricks then it is not how it was tested for certifications.  It can not be used or should not be used until fixed.  An easy fix by the way – I carry bricks and woodstove screws with me at all times.

c) defects in single wall pipe – although no where near as common it is very dangerous.  Had a Barrie Home Inspector who missed a single wall pipe in Penetanguishene that was not completely closed – in fact when I tried it would not stay closed and had to be replaced.  Yet shown as okay by Home Inspector!  Clue when first fire when smoke entered room.  Had another one in Orillia by another Barrie Home Inspector where single wall pipe had several rusted pin holes right through to inside, taking pipes outside and holding up to light you could see daylight entering through holes!  That same stove was also missing screws at joints and refractory bricks in firebox.

d) system needs cleaning – around 80% of all systems I do an inspection on need cleaning – yet this simple item is often missed by Home Inspectors.

e) improper chimney height – many Home Inspectors are not able to accurately determine chimney height from the ground it seems.. and many fail to go on to the roof!

f) defects in chimney, chimney crown or flashing.  Another one you really often need to be on roof, up close and personal to see properly any defects.

g) improper identification of heat form versus insert.  This is very common it seems – but not as high on the list as heat forms are not as common as inserts, woodstoves, etc.

There are likely others.  Bottom line a Level 2 Inspection is necessary on any property sale/transfer as per NFPA 211.  Protect yourself and if the Inspector can not do a Level 2 inspection then find somebody who can.

Another Inspection …

Did another WETT inspection yesterday up in Sawlog Bay area yesterday.  Now Home Inspector had done review on home and said stove was okay apparently.  So how did they do?  Well not too bad for a Level 1 inspection.. which is why a Level 2 is so important!

But they did miss:

  • no screws or fasteners in pipe – none..
  • clearances for rear of stove insufficient
  • clearances for single wall pipe insufficient (by around 2 inches)
  • missing components inside firebox (essentially 2/3 of secondary burn area was missing)

Yes I had screws and added.  Yes I was able to reposition stove on ember pad and obtain clearances and still have proper ember pad extensions.. and yes I will be able to fix the secondary burn pieces on another visit.

But why was none of this picked up earlier?

Away for a bit.

I will be heading up north tomorrow or the next day for an break, will be back in 3 weeks.    I service wood stoves for several camps and get to enjoy some free time and good food in return.

Will have a family member monitor calls but won’t be available myself during that time.

Chimney Sweeping Tools

Chimney Sweeping, like many other trades is evolving all the time.  I have been using Perkins power sweeping tools for some time now and can say they are great, make no mistake about it.  However, I did try some SnapLok out a while ago and have since began switching all the tools over to the SnapLok.  SnapLok even makes an adapter for the Perkins and the screw thread rods.  (now when I say screw thread it is the professional thread and not the ones you find in hardware stores – totally different tread for some reason – hardware store tread is a normal tread the professional one is unique and custom tailored to make the job go faster).

But back to the SnapLok rods.  They are easier to connect and disconnect with the double snap action.  They also have a better selection of tools, with glaze removal tools, blockage removal tools, mole brushes and of course the power whips of various selections.  They also have a cool magnetic mount to hang from roof of vehicle or trailer.

Either way they are both great tools.  Now back to power sweeping.. yes they do a FAR better job than manual sweeping even with professional sweep brushes – which by the way are many times better than the ones you buy in hardware stores!!  Why.. well you do get what you pay for many times.. and the sad part is many will think a couple of strokes with hardware store brush and all is good until next year.  Maybe.. maybe not.

Just looked at a job last week where they were cleaning themselves and had a chimney fire last winter.  They did not even know they had a fire!!   Called me out.. I am going back to clean chimney and then run camera down to see if it can be saved or if a liner needs to be installed.  Bottom line is don’t fool around.. get it done right and done right the first time.  Chimney sweeping seems easy .. a good DIY job .. but sometimes it really is not the best for many DIY as there are too many hidden areas, too much you can’t see and don’t know.. save the risk and get a Certified Chimney Sweep to help.

Book Your Work Now!

Yes now.  It may seem early to some but keep in mind that many annual customers are booked well in advance.    Much of September is booked already and even into October.  If you wait then unfortunately you may well be looking at 3, 4 or even 5 weeks wait until I can fit you in, depending on what you need.

Book now!

Wood burning cookstove Coldwater

Installed  beautiful wood burning cookstove in Coldwater, don’t see too many of these anymore.  The model is also available with a hot water reservoir which this one did not have.  It did however have the warming tray with thermostat and oven.   Used double wall pipes which allowed nice clean installation with reduced clearances.  If you are looking to have help with installation or need a chimney/stove cleaning or a WETT Inspection then call today for help.  Always look for a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep, WETT Certified Technician or WETT Certified Comprehensive Inspector and get Peace of Mind.


Woodstove Installation Deer Island

Beautiful day on Georgian Bay, the waterways from Honey Harbour out to Deer Island are almost glass smooth (not quite but about as smooth as they get).

Did installation on nice wood stove on the island inspected the chimney (installed by contractor) and performed an overall code inspection and provided a WETT report.

It is important to do it right..!   Don’t fool around and try to save a few dollars.. the insurance company and building inspector will likely want the WETT report at any rate and the added cost of installation will be more than worth it in the long run.

Always look for a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep or WETT Certified Technician to help you out and give you Peace of Mind.